A Brief History Of Asphalt

May 31, 2022

Understanding the history of asphalt is a fundamental aspect that every homeowner should know. This knowledge will offer sufficient information when you need to construct a driveway at home. So, what is asphalt, and where did asphalt come from?

What Is Asphalt?

Asphalt is a sticky and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or refined products; it is a substance classified as pitch. Before the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used. The word is derived from Ancient Greek.

Where Can You Find Asphalt?

It occurs naturally in both asphalt lakes and as a residue from the distillation of petroleum. Most natural asphalt deposits are found in Cuba, Iran, Peru, Trinidad, and Venezuela. Asphalt also occurs in the form of asphaltites, which are found in Algeria, Ghana, Gabon, and Togo.

Natural asphalt is sometimes referred to as bitumen. It consists of hydrogen and carbon compounds, with minor impurities of nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and trace metals. The composition varies depending on the source of the asphalt.

What Are the Different Forms of Asphalt?

Asphalt is found in several forms. The most common is a hot mix asphalt (HMA) which consists of aggregate (stone, sand, or gravel) coated with asphalt cement, a product of crude oil distillation. HMA is used extensively in construction, including paving roads and roofs, and for various industrial applications, such as pipe coating.

Other forms of asphalt include cold mix asphalt (CMA), mastic asphalt, and oxidized bitumen (OB). CMA is produced by mixing aggregate with bitumen emulsion instead of asphalt cement, thus making it workable at lower temperatures than HMA.

Mastic asphalt is a type of HMA containing high levels of asphalt binder, allowing it to be used for projects requiring a strong, durable material. OB is made by air-blowing asphalt cement, which oxidizes the asphalt and makes its properties different from regular HMA.

Why Is Asphalt Highly Recommended?

Asphalt is a material that has been in use for centuries, and its popularity is mainly due to its unique properties. Some of these properties include:

  • Water Resistance

One of the most important properties of asphalt is its ability to resist water. When water seeps into cracks in asphalt, it can cause the surface to deteriorate, leading to potholes and other damage. Asphalt’s water-resistant nature makes it an ideal material for paving roads and other surfaces exposed to moisture.

  • Flexibility

Another important property of asphalt is its flexibility. Asphalt pavement can flex and deform under the weight of vehicles without cracking or breaking. This flexibility helps to extend the lifespan of asphalt pavements by allowing them to withstand the constant stress of traffic.

  • Durability

In addition to its water resistance and flexibility, asphalt is also known for its durability. Asphalt pavements can last for decades with proper maintenance, making them cost-effective for commercial and residential applications.


Asphalt is a versatile material with a long history of use. Its unique properties make it ideal for paving roads, driveways, and other surfaces. Asphalt is a durable, water-resistant, and flexible material that can withstand the rigors of daily use. With proper maintenance, asphalt pavement can last for decades. Maryland Asphalt LLC can help you choose the right asphalt pavement for your needs.

Categorised in:

Maryland Asphalt LLC